Are You Carrying Around Digital Baggage?

Social Media May Be Weighing You Down

As I was sitting with a good friend of mine, Jeff of The Lounging Space, discussing life, love, and faith, we began to talk about baggage. Not the typical baggage you may think of.

We didn’t talk of lost loves. Or the pain of regret. No… We discussed digital baggage.

In today’s world, we’re carrying around Digital Baggage. More than we would like to admit.

What Is Digital Baggage?

Jeff and I came to the conclusion Digital Baggage consists of all of our social media channels. Facebook. YouTube. Twitter. Instagram. Google+, LinkedIn.

Each of these social media channels offers us something great. The opportunity to connect with long lost friends. The chance to stay in touch with new friends. And the ability to sell our wares to our connections.

But these social media channels also offers us something else. Digital Baggage.

Digital Baggage is all of the junk that comes along with our social media presence. Our desire to look good to a crowd of people we don’t know. The hope of landing a new client. Sometimes the Digital Baggage is the longing to see something new.

All in all, Digital Baggage is weighing you and I down in an attempt to stay afloat in an ever-increasing social media landscape.

Why Do We Hold Onto Digital Baggage?

I’ve wondered time and again why do I have a Facebook account? Why do I keep coming back to a social media channel where I feel empty and alone?

There’s no good reason for me to go back to Facebook. But I do. And I think I figured out the reasons I carry my Digital Baggage back to Facebook.

We don’t want to miss a thing: No, not the Aerosmith song from the movie Armageddon. I don’t want to miss the updates my friends share. The social media updates where they look like heroes because they’ve made money or had a kid or started a new job. I don’t want to miss those things… Yet I want to. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is real.

We want to FEEL connected: Facebook and Twitter and Instagram offers us a fake sense of connectedness. One that draws us back in time and again. We want to see our Facebook friend count rise. Our follower count on Twitter go up. Our LinkedIn connections grow. There’s a desire to feel connected. Even if the connection is digital and shallow.

We desire to appear popular: I’m going to take the want of feeling connected to another level. Not only do we want to feel connected, we want to appear popular. We show off our YouTube subscriber count, our Facebook friend count, how many followers we have on Twitter. Each of these numbers makes us feel a little more popular or important.

We hold onto our Digital Baggage because we want to. From wanting to be up-to-date on the latest happenings, to being connected, to appearing popular, Digital Baggage gives us these feelings of worthiness.

What Does Digital Baggage Do To Us?

Digital Baggage puts all of us in a bad spot. Because of our desire to come off as popular or connected or in the know, we have to continually put on a show. We connect with people we don’t know or don’t care to know. We take part in conversations we have no business taking part in.

Digital Baggage slowly begins to make you think you’re missing out on something. Or you need to be more than you are. Digital Baggage lies to us and tells us we’re not good enough.

What Can We Do To Rid Ourselves Of Digital Baggage?

That’s a good question. I’m still not quite sure how to rid myself of Digital Baggage I’ve collected over the years. I still want to feel important and have a large following.

Yet I want to feel something more than a weak connection to those I know online. I want more than the shallow relationships social media and Digital Baggage has created.

I’m tired of being the pawn of a digital marketer who wants to pitch me their next product. I’m sick of slick sales people worming their way into my friend lists.

But I want to do something about it. That’s why I’m writing this article. I want help. And I want to help you. So I want to share some thoughts on getting rid of Digital Baggage. Then I want you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Limit your time on social media: Too many of us don’t set boundaries for ourselves when it comes to social media. We have allowed Facebook and Twitter and Instagram to ding and boop us on our phones. The social media channels are right there, begging for our attention.

Setting a time limit for your social media is a great start. Commit to spending 30 minutes or an hour a day on your social media. Whatever works for you but setting boundaries will go a long way in taming the Digital Baggage in your life.

Take a social media sabbatical: Not only can you set time limits for yourself on social media, you can take a social media sabbatical. A social media sabbatical means setting aside a specific amount of time (typically a week or more) to be off of social media. This helps you to focus on other aspects of your life and free yourself from some of the Digital Baggage holding you down.

Trim your friend’s list: Once upon a time social media experts believed you needed to accept as many friend requests as you could or follow everyone who followed you on Twitter. Doing this fills your timelines with a lot of junk you won’t be interested in (or maybe you are interested in the junk but the junk brings you down). By limiting who’s on your friend’s list, you limit the amount of Digital Baggage you’re bringing into your life.

These are but a few ways you can tame the Digital Baggage in your life. There are plenty of other ways you can rid yourself of Digital Baggage. Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Let me know what you’re doing to triage the Digital Baggage and make social media more intimate and fun again.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Jeff Eikenberry

    Love this article, and thank for mentioning me bro! I’ve been trying to really limit my social media time the last couple of weeks. During that time, I’ve also really tried to curtail my posting and commenting, as I found myself wanting to post about every frustrating thought I had, or even to throw my 2-cents into way too many comments on the posts of others. Lastly, I’m going to work on shutting off the notifications…that’s right…I want to jump on social media on ~my~ time frame, without the temptation of hearing the “ding” or seeing the notification icons every five min lol! Thanks for the great challenge here!

    • Thanks for inspiring the article man! You know the talks we have are some of the highlights of the week as they really get me thinking.

  • The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) definitely happens with social media. There are many platforms out there, and the key is to focus on where you get the most fulfillment. If you’re using social media to monetize your business, then find out which platform(s) are working for you, and scale back your time on the others.